How Driving A Taxi Prepared Me To Run An Investment Bank

If something in life does not challenge your inner self, it will not change your life outwardly. Success comes when your inner ego breaks into pieces. The ” I ” in you has to shatter before you rebuild your new you. Its like a wall of bricks, each brick put together in totality makes an entire wall. Consider your character made up of bricks. Each habit, each trait you develop consciously or unconsciously over your lifetime from birth makes you who you are. You walk a certain way. you talk a certain way, you think in a particular manner, your likes your dislikes, your approach towards life, your thought process towards a certain situation…they are all like individual bricks, when put together, they make a wall of your personality called ” I ” or “ME”… And this I or ME is not by conscious effort that it has been developed.

You look at other people and learn subconsciously, you witness events in life and you unknowingly develop a liking and start reacting a certain way towards those events when they appear in your life. You have no choice as to where each brick should have been placed, the wall of your personality Just developed over a period of time and you inherited it. You like it or not, It has become you. If each brick is considered a habit, for example, confidence is one brick, laziness is another, positivity is another, optimism is another, and all bricks together make your personality. But you dont have a choice by the time you are in your late teenage years, to rearrange the bricks as per your liking. Maybe you want to have more bricks of confidence in your wall of personality, you cant add or delete a brick because if you try to, then the entire wall will come trembling down.

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Comes a time in your life when you know that the wall is about to break down and all the bricks will be falling before your eyes. It will be the most scariest event in your life and the most beneficial if you handle it right. Because now you can rebuild the life as per your liking. Take out the bricks of negativity and pessimism or the bricks of fear and impatience and replace them all with the bricks of your liking. But it scares you when you know that the wall will break down soon and you dont know how many ugly bricks of your personality will appear that you will not like. And the process of rebuilding the wall will be the most painful process you have ever gone through.

My wall of personality was shaken when i landed in America and my first job as a teenager was to Mop floors and wash bathrooms at Burger King on Easton Ave, Somerset, New Jersey. I had so many bricks of ego. My entire wall was bricks of ego, pride, thinking of myself highly, considering mopping floors a derogatory job and everything else you can think of. I had two choices, either not to do it and keep looking for another job making excuses or rise to the occasion and break the wall quicker so i can rebuild it quicker. The thoughts that would come to my mind were many, A person with my family background will wash bathrooms and mop floors ? ” I ” Mir Mohammad Alikhan will be seen with a mop in my hands cleaning floors at a restaurant ?

But when I decided that as a student i will do everything that all others do in America. I will blend in. Leave my old habits aside. Will have no ego. Will work harder than even the Americans. All of a sudden the wall started to break and there were so many bricks in my wall of personality that i did not like or know that they were there. Then began the process of rearranging the entire brick formation and rebuild the wall one brick at a time. But at least this time around i began to put the bricks in places that i wanted in my personality. positivity, optimism, humility, confidence, pleasantness, and whatever else i wanted.

I realized that very soon this process will become my past and it will be the most beneficial thing i would have ever done for myself. Because past is where you learn your lessons, future is where you apply them and its the middle where you should not give up.

Then came a time when i started driving a taxi in summer time. Taking passengers from all over somerset county to Newark airport. Every time without fail i would get a different personality of people. Angry, pissed off, talkative, happy, pessimist, overly confident, you name it and i would have to deal with them. Never could i have guessed what the next passenger will be like. I started having a conversation with each passenger. I would drive the cab for 16 hours a day, from 7am till 11pm at night. Seven days a week trying to save up for my next semester’s fee. I realized that all my hardships were coming from outside but if i failed, my failure will only come from inside because i gave up.

I decided never to give up. I started to learn from such diversified group of people with such varied personalities.

It developed an interest in me for human behaviour which till this day i am fascinated with the subject. Learning about situations, personalities, events and many many more things from my dear teachers, my passengers, prepared me for Wall Street.

yes, driving a taxi prepared me for success. Wall Street is the same, you never know the next move of the market, if its in a good mood, bad mood, confused or whatever. The same is with the clients. you never know what he is thinking. You never know if the deal will work out or not. You have to leave your ego aside and deal with every situation at its own merit. Without pre-proposed expectations.

Be ready for anything. Any Hardship. Use the new arrangements of your personality wall of bricks to your advantage. No point in stressing over something you cant change, rather, change yourself and grow stronger. People say you only live once. They are wrong. Very wrong. You live everyday. You only die once. So live everyday and get closer to your dreams. Live your dreams. Dont let your dreams die before you. Your death should come before your dream’s death. Thats called die trying. And thats the only thing you have in your favour, trying.

All the hardships of today will look easy if you believe in your deepest part of your subconscious that tomorrow will be a better day.


This is guest article by Mir Muhammad Ali Khan.

Mir Mohammad Alikhan is internationally renowned Investment Banker, Entrepreneur & Capital Markets Advisor. At the age of 29, he became the youngest Chairman and Founder of a Full service Investment Bank in America and the first Muslim to have owned an investment bank on Wall Street. He has had a successful career as Founder & Chairman The Financial Group, Inc., Federal Advisor to Govt. of Pakistan, a Member of New Jersey Governors Council, a Senior Advisor to New Jersey State Mayors and US State Senators. He introduced Islamic Banking Research into mainstream America by co-sponsoring and advising Harvard University to launch Harvard Islamic Finance and Information Program (HIFIP).

He also developed “THE WORD’S FIRST ISLAMIC BANKING BENCHMARK INDEX on WALL STREET Named:KMS-SAMI: (Socially Aware Muslin Index) Which Is Now A Functional Index Run By The Dow Jones Indices. He has also been featured in “Who’s Who of Top Executives in the World”. Featured in “Humans Of Pakistan” and in 2015 he became the first Pakistani ever to have a movie produced on his life through a first time co-production of Hollywood and Pakistani production house Sermad Films, The Producers of the movie “JALAIBEE”.WWW.MIRMAK.NET/Biography

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